Congress files bill declaring FSL and Deaf Week every September

House Representative Alfred Vargas of Quezon City recently filed House Bill No. 7753 declaring the last full week of September of every year as the “National Week of the Deaf” and September 23 as “Filipino Sign Language Day.”
On its official Facebook post, the Philippine Federation of the Deaf announced this news and offered its sincerest gratitude to Congressman Vargas who authored this bill.
Congressman Alfred Vargas
The bill was filed in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities and the international advocacy of the World Federation of the Deaf.  It’s purpose is to
instill public awareness of the human rights situation of the Filipino Deaf, in line with the International Week of the Deaf… and for the purpose of promoting recognition and acceptance of Filipino Sign Language as a symbol of the need of the deaf for inclusion and as a reminder of individual’s and the state’s duty to accord due respect to people who are deaf and their linguistic and cultural identity, in line with the International Day of Sign Languages.
The bill is now pending with the Committee on PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES since September 29. You may get the full text of the bill by going to the official website of the Philippine House of Representatives here in PDF Format.
This humble blogger salutes Cong. Alfred Vargas for recognizing us and our cause. Let us support him by thanking him for this advocacy by commenting to his official Facebook page. Mabuhay po kayo!

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Congress calls for review of implementation of Filipino Sign Language Act

Cong L Arroyo
Hon. Ma. Lourdes T. Arroyo of Negros Occidental, 5th District

The House of Representatives thru Negros Occidental 5th district Rep. Ma. Lourdes “Marilou” T. Arroyo, is calling on her colleagues to review the implementation of the Filipino Sign Language Act to ensure that the rights of the Deaf community in the country are protected and that they have access to information, education, and health services during this time of COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The law took effect on November 27, 2018.

Here is a repost from the original news article published by the Manila Bulletin dated June 20, 2020.

Arroyo calls for review of implementation of Filipino Sign Language Act

Published June 25, 2020, 10:42 AM

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Negros Occidental 5th district Rep. Ma. Lourdes “Marilou” T. Arroyo is calling on her colleagues to review the implementation of the Filipino Sign Language Act to ensure that the rights of the Deaf community in the country are protected and that they have access to information, education, and health services during this time of COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The chairperson of the House Special Committee on Persons with Disability filed House Resolution No. 955 directing the Inter-Agency Council to submit to the House of Representatives a “comprehensive” report on the monitoring and implementation of the Republic Act No. 11106, which was signed into law by President Duterte in November 2018.

“During this crisis when information is constantly changing, getting information to the deaf and people with hearing loss is not easy,” she said. She noted that under RA 11106, the Inter-Agency Council is required to make an annual report on the monitoring and implementation of the law and submit it to both houses of Congress, and publicly disclose it.,

RA 11106 declares the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and the official sign language of government in all transactions involving the deaf. The law mandates the use of FSL in schools, broadcast media, and workplaces.

Citing the report of the Manila Bulletin, she said an alliance of Deaf and hearing advocates has been formed to ensure the Deaf community’s equal access to information.

“It says that the alliance was formed recognizing the lack of sign language interpreters in TV stations during the announcement of the community quarantine and that interpreters had to designate a portion of their houses as their workstation to comply with the standards of TV inset,” Arroyo said.

She said all briefings of the Department of Health (DOH) as well as an official advisory of the government on rules and guidelines during the COVID-19 crisis should be made accessible to all citizens including our persons with disabilities.

Under HR 955, the House leader also asked private health facilities to provide access to health services to all deaf patients and their family members.

Under HR 955, the House leader expressed her panel’s readiness to look into the delayed issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of the law.

“There is a need to find out the reason behind the delay or inaction of the different government agencies involved in crafting the IRR of RA No. 11106 in order to diminish the severe risk to the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities especially the deaf and hard of hearing by timely and accurate health information surrounding the outbreak,” she said.
Section 13 of the law provides that the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino promulgate the implementing rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the proposed Act within 180 days after its effectivity date. That should be done in coordination with the Secretary of Education, chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), director-general of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), chairperson of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ), in consultation with the representative of the deaf community, teachers with knowledge and experience with the use of FSL in deaf education, academe, interpreters.

Here is the link to the original post.

Philippine House of Representatives approves “Filipino Sign Language Act”

The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading last Tuesday House Bill 7503, seeking to declare Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and the official sign language of the government in all transactions involving them.

During the session, all 211 House Members present thumbed up the proposed “Filipino Sign Language Act” which is principally authored by Rep. Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers)

The bill also seeks to mandate the use of FSL in schools, broadcast media, and workplaces when involving the deaf.

It declares that the State, in accord with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, shall continue to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Likewise, the State shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the Filipino deaf can exercise the right to expression and opinion. Accordingly, the State recognizes and promotes the use of sign languages embodying the specific cultural and linguistic identity of the Filipino deaf.

The FSL shall be recognized, promoted, and supported as the medium of official communication in all transactions involving the deaf, and as the language of instruction of deaf education, without prejudice to the use of other forms of communication depending on individual choice or preference.

In this regard, the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher and Technical Education (CHED), the Technical Educational Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and all other national and local government agencies involved in the education of the deaf shall henceforth use FSL as the medium of instruction in deaf education.

The FSL shall be taught as a separate subject in the curriculum of deaf learners. The reading and writing of Filipino, as the national language, other Philippine languages, and English shall also be taught to deaf learners.

The University of the Philippines and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), professional sign linguistics and linguistic researchers in collaboration with the CHED, DepEd and the Early Childhood Care and Development Council (ECDC), shall come up with guidelines in the development of training materials for the education of the deaf. These materials shall be used by all state universities and colleges as well as their teachers and staff.

In the justice system, the FSL shall be the official language of legal interpreting for the deaf in all public hearings, proceedings, and transactions of the courts, quasi-judicial agencies, and other tribunals.

To ensure effective and equal access of the deaf to justice and facilitate their effective role as direct and indirect participants in the legal system, the courts, quasi-judicial agencies, and other tribunals shall ensure the availability of a qualified sign language interpreter in all proceedings involving the deaf, without prejudice to the right of the deaf to choose other forms or modes of communication, if they so prefer.

Hearings, proceedings and transactions shall include those that are held in police stations and before the Lupong Tagapamayapa as well as preliminary investigations and other initial stages in the court, other quasi-judicial bodies and tribunals.

The FSL also shall be the official language of the deaf employed in the civil service and all government workplaces. All government offices shall take reasonable measures, including the conduct of awareness and training seminars on the rationale and use of FSL, to encourage its use among deaf and hearing-impaired government employees.

In the health system, state hospitals and all health facilities shall ensure access of the Filipino deaf to health services, including the free provision of FSL interpreters and accessible materials upon the request of deaf patients or individuals who have deaf family members.

The FSL also shall be used as the medium of official communication in all other public transactions, services and facilities.

Likewise, the FSL shall be the language of broadcast media interpreting. The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) shall, within one year from the effectivity of the Act, require FSL interpreter insets, compliant with accessibility standards for television, in news and public affairs programs.

The bill mandates the KWF to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the Act in coordination with the Education Secretary, CHED Chairperson, TESDA Director-General, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Chairperson, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Justice Secretary, and the heads of other relevant agencies, and in consultation with representatives of the deaf community, teachers with knowledge and experience with the use of FSL in deaf education, the academe, interpreters, and other persons concerned.

Source:

Author: Rowena B. Bundang – Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Date Published: 02-August-2018, 06:03:04 PM
Link: House of Representatives Official Website

You may download the FSL House Bill 7503 in PDF Format here.

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